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What is CI CD testing? How Does It Work?

January 8, 2024Aninditha Rath
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What is CI CD testing How Does It Work
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The term CICD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, which represents a widely used concept in the case of software delivery within an environment characterized by ongoing development and evolution. And know in detail about CICD Testing.

What is CICD?

To understand it more, continuous integration is a method where developers need to push the changes in code in a continuous manner instead of pushing many changes at once, as it used to happen in the waterfall model. In an Agile environment where the requirements and the timelines may vary depending on the client’s needs and the changing market standards, continuous integration proves to be very helpful. 

With continuous integration(CI), automated tests run after every integration, thus feedback about the quality can be received within a small duration of time. The faster the feedback, the faster the delivery and it allows us more time to accommodate changes. Read about – The benefits of Continuous Integrations.

Continuous Delivery (CD) empowers software development teams to efficiently schedule and orchestrate their release cycles. By embracing CD practices, teams can streamline the process of automating their infrastructure provisioning and subsequent deployments. As a result, they gain enhanced control and effective management of their cloud resources.

What is CI CD Testing?

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) involves the right principles, techniques, practices, and technology to empower the DevOps team to develop and test the software in an automated and repeatable manner.

CI CD testing is one of the phases in this process that takes care of quality assurance and perfect delivery of the software with zero errors. The goal of CI/CD testing is to promote the update or release only when it passes the functional requirements testing, remains stable, and is free of defects. Typically, it is an automated process that is fully integrated with the CI CD pipeline.

Where Does CI CD Testing Fit into the CI/CD Process?

It’s much easier to address and rectify an issue soon after it’s introduced into the codebase. Early detection prevents additional code from being built upon a shaky foundation, ultimately saving time and effort. Additionally, addressing problems promptly keeps your development team in context, ensuring efficient problem-solving.

Automated build testing tools seamlessly integrate with CI/CD tools, allowing you to feed test data into the pipeline and conduct testing in progressive stages. At each step, you receive results that inform your next move. Depending on your chosen CI tool, you can decide whether to advance a build to the next stage based on the outcome of previous tests. 

To maximize the benefits of your CI/CD pipeline, it’s advisable to organize your build tests in an order that prioritizes the fastest ones to run first. This approach provides swift feedback and optimizes the utilization of test environments. You can ensure that initial tests have passed before moving on to longer and more intricate ones.

When strategizing the creation and execution of automated tests, it’s valuable to conceptualize the process in terms of the testing pyramid, which emphasizes a balanced mix of unit, integration, and end-to-end tests. This well-structured approach to CI/CD testing ensures comprehensive coverage while maintaining efficiency and effectiveness throughout the software development lifecycle.

An atypical CICD flow may look like this:

CICD process

1. Developing the requested feature within a sprint or within a committed deadline to the customer

2. Pushing and merging code into the existing codebase

3. Initial source code quality analysis by unit test case

4. Building and executing the integrated code through automated test cases

5. Generate the deployable code version in lower environments

6. Report the status in the lower environments and fix the defects

7. Pushing code to higher environments and getting customer feedback

8. Production release of the software

Why Should You Automate CI CD Testing?

Many reasons arise to point out why CI CD testing should be automated. The most foundational basis is the quick turnaround time and rapid feedback opportunities that are lacking in the traditional waterfall model. In CI/CD, automated testing is at the heart of the workflow, ensuring that code changes are rigorously tested as soon as they are committed. This fundamental shift in approach significantly reduces the time traditionally spent on manual testing and post-development bug fixing.

In CI/CD testing, automated test suites are executed continuously, with every code change triggering a battery of tests to assess the integrity of the application. This automation improves the speed and efficiency of testing and also allows for early detection of issues.

In CI, developers frequently merge their code changes into a shared repository, triggering automated tests that assess the integrity of the application. CD, or Continuous Delivery, takes this a step further by automating the deployment process, ensuring that tested code changes can be deployed to production at any time. Daily committing changes allows for your team to keep the software up-to-date with no issues. The CI/CD pipeline ensures that the software remains in a state of constant readiness for deployment, allowing for quick and reliable releases.

Read more on CI CD Test Automation

How is CI CD Testing Done?

CI/CD testing is performed through a well-defined and automated pipeline that integrates various testing stages into the software development and deployment process. Here’s how CI/CD testing is typically done:

Code Commit (CI): Developers commit code changes to a version control system (e.g., Git). This triggers the CI pipeline to initiate.

Automated Builds: The CI/CD server automatically pulls the latest code changes and builds the application. This ensures that the code is compilable and ready for further testing.

Unit Testing (CI): Automated unit tests are executed to verify the functionality of individual code components. Any failures at this stage are quickly reported to developers.

Integration Testing (CI): After successful unit tests, integration tests are performed to check how different parts of the application work together. This verifies that code changes have not introduced integration issues.

Automated Deployment (CD): In Continuous Delivery, the tested code is deployed to a staging environment that closely resembles the production environment.

Monitoring and Reporting: Throughout the CI/CD process, monitoring tools collect data on application performance and test results. Reports and alerts are generated to notify teams of any issues.

Deployment to Production (CD): If all tests pass and stakeholders approve, the code changes are deployed to the production environment.

Post-Deployment Monitoring (CD): After deployment, continuous monitoring ensures that the application performs as expected in the production environment.

CI/CD Testing: Manual vs Automated Testing

CI/CD Testing: Manual vs Automated Testing

When it comes to CICD – any type of testing, whether it is manual or automated, is accepted.

Manual testing involves testers who observe and assess the software application from different perspectives like functionality, usability, accessibility and performance.

Testers also perform exploratory testing to find out and report unusual issues for edge cases. A tester has to apply critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities as per their experience. But In cases where a particular set of test cases or a large number of test cases are supposed to be executed repeatedly, there are high chances of human error. This can be pretty time-consuming too.

So here we can leverage the power of automated testing tools available in the market. We can feed repetitive and complex test cases or the ones where a large number of data is involved in the system. This can be automated and save testers time. Automated testing speeds up feedback loops by continuously checking code. It is important to automate as much of the testing process as possible. This approach is well-suited for executing large sets of repetitive tests and detecting regressions promptly. Types of tests that can be integrated as a part of the CICD cycles are Unit Testing, Integration Testing, System Testing, Regression Testing

As not all test cases can be automated for that matter. We can go for an approach combining manual and automated testing to ensure continuous delivery.

What Is Continuous Testing?

With continuous integration, every build after a checkin goes through automated tests to determine the stability of the system after the checkin. This process is called continuous testing.

Hence, continuous testing not only helps in building a better product and getting customer feedback but also helps the user to have a seamless experience, because the user doesn’t have to wait to enjoy a feature because there may be a high demand from the business end.

Automation testing can play a vital role when it comes to continuous testing. Using a tool for the process and running the automation code can help us identify failures and blockers that come instantly after an updated code change is deployed.

In order to carry out continuous testing, what should you keep in mind?

1. Using a tool to generate and execute automation tests.

2. Creating and maintaining an effective framework for automated tests.

3. Separate development and test environments

4. Using real data/production data if possible

5. Integrating your automation tool into CICD for faster feedback

6. Parallel testing helps identify performance errors

Reasons Test Automation Is Essential for CI/CD Pipelines


To accommodate big and complex environments and frequent changes done to it , it’s necessary to have automated testing in place. An effective CICD pipeline can be built only with the integration of automated tests. Below are a few reasons why it is important to have automation testing in a CICD process

1. Handling and accommodating frequent changes:

The CICD process allows us to make continuous changes to the system. Test automation enables us to verify the stability of the system after every change and enables continuous delivery.

2. Faster execution and feedback:

As far as automated tests are concerned, there is no doubt that they execute faster than manual tests and thus feedback on the stability of a build after every checkin is also faster. 

3. Reduce time and effort:

By automating tedious tasks, it enables testers to allocate more time to intricate functionalities. This empowers testers to conduct thorough exploratory testing, delving into performance, accessibility, and localization aspects. 

4. More consistency: 

Automation significantly reduces the likelihood of human errors and instills confidence in the system’s stability. Automated execution ensures consistency and precision, eliminating manual variability. It enables thorough validation of all aspects of the system, leading to reliable results. 

5. Enable shift left testing:


When tests are executed after every checkin, it is easier to shift testing left. By shifting testing left, bugs are identified early in the SDLC, making them easier and less costly to fix. This approach emphasizes bug detection during planning or early development phases. Moreover, developers can conveniently address bugs within their assigned components, avoiding interruptions caused by unrelated maintenance tasks.  

6. More flexibility for enhancements:

The CICD pipeline enables rapid system improvements, prioritizing customer experience. Users can make enhancements effortlessly and with minimal concern for potential impacts. 

7. Supports faster delivery

Implementing a CICD process facilitates speedy product delivery, adding significant business value and having customer contentment.

Best Practices for CI/CD Pipeline Testing

As a starting point for setting up and streamlining the CICD process in their project, here are some best practices they should consider

1. Place the code (Development and Testing) under source control

2. Build and deploy only when necessary

3.Use incremental development pattern

4. Use separate feature branches for all changes

5. Set unit tests in place for an initial check to facilitate shift left testing

6. Check your code coverage before pushing code to lower environments

7. Automate the maximum functional test cases possible

8. Create multiple test suites if necessary.

9. Create a separate test environment

10. Run test suites continuously and concurrently

11. Put automatic rollback of code in place

12. Have logging tools in place like (Logstash or Splunk) to detect issues in deployment

13. Have security checks in place before deploying to higher environments.

How to Choose the Right Tool for CI CD Testing?

Selecting the right tool for CICD testing involves thoughtful evaluation. Here are ten steps to guide your decision:

1. Clearly define your testing requirements, considering the types of tests needed, automation level, and target environments.

2. Assess tool compatibility with your existing infrastructure, development frameworks, and technologies.

3. Prioritize ease of use. Look for a tool with a user-friendly interface and ample documentation and support.

4. Consider scalability and flexibility, ensuring the tool can grow with your testing needs and integrate with other tools in your ecosystem.

5. Evaluate reporting and analytics capabilities, such as test result tracking and code coverage analysis.

6. Understand the cost and licensing model of the tool, ensuring it aligns with your budget and provides value for your investment.

7. Seek recommendations and reviews from industry peers and online communities to gather insights and best practices.

8. Conduct a proof of concept (PoC) to test the tool’s performance, integration capabilities, and suitability for your specific project.

9. Consider the tool’s community and support resources, as well as the availability of training and tutorials.

10. Finally, make an informed decision by weighing all the factors mentioned above, ensuring the selected tool meets your organization’s needs for efficient CICD testing and software delivery.

Tools for Enabling CICD Testing:

There are several popular tools available for enabling CI/CD testing. Here are some commonly used ones:

1. TestSigma: TestSigma is a cloud-based test automation tool that enables end-to-end testing of web and mobile applications. It uses a scriptless approach where tests can be created using a simple and intuitive interface. TestSigma provides in-built CI/CD integrations, allowing you to seamlessly execute tests as part of your CI/CD pipeline.


2. Selenium: Selenium is a popular open-source automation framework for web applications. It supports multiple programming languages (such as Java, Python, and C#) and offers a wide range of functionalities for web testing. Selenium integrates well with CI/CD pipelines and can be combined with other tools like Selenium Grid for parallel execution.

3. Jenkins: Although primarily known as a CI/CD tool, Jenkins also supports test automation. It provides plugins for integrating with various testing frameworks, including Selenium, JUnit, and TestNG. Jenkins can execute automated tests as part of the CI/CD pipeline and generate reports for test results.

4. Cucumber: Cucumber is a widely used tool for behavior-driven development (BDD) and test automation. It enables collaboration between developers, testers, and business stakeholders through the use of plain-text executable specifications called Gherkin. Cucumber supports integration with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, allowing automated tests to be executed as part of the pipeline.

5. Appium: Appium is an open-source automation framework specifically designed for automating tests for mobile applications. It supports both Android and iOS platforms and allows you to write tests using popular programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby. Appium can be integrated into CI/CD pipelines to automate mobile app testing across multiple devices and platforms.

These tools offer different features and capabilities to support test automation in CI/CD workflows. Depending on your specific requirements and preferences, you can choose the tool that best fits your needs and integrates smoothly into your CI/CD pipeline.

Conclusion:

 In conclusion, CICD testing plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient software delivery, without compromising on quality, in a continuously evolving development environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are CI CD pipeline tasks?

All the task that are part of CICD pipeline are called CICD pipeline. These include: integration of code changes, build creation, test execution and deployment tasks.

What are some CI CD tools?

Some well known CICD tools include: Jenkins, CircleCI, TeamCit, Bamboo, GitLab, Buddy, Travis CI

What is the difference between CI CD and DevOps?

CI/CD centers on automating the software development pipeline, encompassing code integration, testing, and deployment. DevOps is a broader cultural approach emphasizing collaboration between development and IT operations. In DevOps vs CI/CD, the latter streamlines delivery, while the former fosters a culture of cooperation, shared responsibility, and continuous improvement, encompassing both technical and organizational aspects.

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